Monday, January 21, 2008

Deb has landed and met the girls

This post is from Tom, Deb's husband. I just hung up the phone after a call with Deb. Her flight was very long and she sounds both physically and emotionally exhausted.

But...she met the girls and had them with her right then. She says they are very beautiful.

Heck, I'll just shut up and paste in the email she sent to me and our boys:

I am here! All is well, and I have the girls! They say hello! they look very cute in their new clothes...they are very cute. They are also very quiet. We go for a medical visa apt tomorrow and then probably to the Hilton for some swimming.

After a very long flight, I am feeling pretty good. I slept a lot due to Tylenol PM. I was very nervous, and still am. I wish you were all here. It would be a lot easier.

The sights here are incredible..extreme poverty right next door to grandeur. There is a lot of construction going on, and they do it mostly by hand, and with wood poles. I will try and take alot of photos...I can't even tell you how awesome and sad this is at the same time.
I am slightly terrified, but I will keep it together!

Please pray for Deb and our daughters! The girls are very shy so far--who can blame them? Pray that, in spite of their language barrier and their fear, they somehow connect deeply. I think this is harder for Deb than she imagined. Please keep her in your prayers.


Friday, January 18, 2008

The weather outsite will not be frightful!

When I get to Addis on Monday, it should be in the mid 70's during the day and mid 40's at night. Not a bad way to spend a week! This will be my last post for awhile. I may be able to post from Addis-I will try. I am so excited for this adventure! If you think about us, please pray...for strength, understanding, an uneventful flight and trip. And if the trip is eventful, the patience to get through it! Thanks for all your support!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Packing for us

Well...I am nearly packed. I have a few clothes in the dryer that I want to bring, some letters to include, but I think I am near done. Here is a pick of everything I am bringing.
This includes:
Roll on
1 set of clothes for each person (in case luggage gets lost)
1 set of Jammies
1 jacket for each person
1 set of medications ie, antacids, ibuprofren, etc.
1 set of toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap, nail clippers, bandaids, antibiotic ointment , shampoos for the girls, hand santizer,
4 pairs of croc style shoes--don't know their size
1 complete set of copied paperwork--just in case
10 or more wrapped gifts that will be given to the girls on the way back
stickers, beads, candy toys, coloring books, crayone
Several small garbage bags and ziplocs for whatever..garbage etc.
Checked Luggage
18 gallone tote: see below
Plus a large ziploc full of letters to be delivered to children and workers at Layla
Large luggage
6 sets of clothes for each person, including undies, socks
Swim suits for each...extra because I don't know the sizes for sure.
Hair dryer
comb, brush
complete set of medications (see above)
complete set of toiletries (see above)
Lice treatment ( although clean--they do live in an orphanage)
Adapters and converters
alarm clock
comfort food
mac and cheese
trail mix
pnut butter
top ramen
Girls' Back Packs
I will give them their backpacks when I see them.
lip gloss
writing board
My Purse/Backpack
3 books
several magazines
lip stuff
hand sanitizer
some meds

Brilliant Idea?

I took over about 75 pictures of items from our home and around where we live, punched holes in them and put a ring through the whole lot...I hope to use them on the way home to famiarlize the girls with American words, and so that when they get here things will seem sort of familiar.
Danielle also spent and afternoon with me compiling a similar set that will help us communicate. It has things like a picture of our car, to signify that we will be leaving, or their backpacks, to signify that we are going to school. They look cool anyway...who knows if it will help!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Team Carlson

You have got to vist Team Carlson. The link is on the right side bar. You will laugh out loud. This is the family who lives a few blocks down the street and I am hoping our girls like each other!

Packing for the masses

Here is what I am packing to take to Layla House. AAI said that Layla House needed socks for girls and boys, dry erase markers, glitter, glitter glue, and needles for ball pumps. I am also bringing 200 Tootsie Roll Pops and enough beads, pipe cleaners and ribbon to make beaded crosses. It isn't a terribly creative craft, but I have one that Abel made about 6 years ago that hangs in my car. It is cute and easy to make. These items will go into an 18 gallon tub and secured with zip ties. If it gets searched, I will have more inside so that I can secure it again.

What do people do?

Our first Barbies!
As I was strolling through Target looking for ethnic Barbies...It struck me how hard it must be for families who have children of color. I just couldn't bring myself to buy a white Barbie for the girls' first Barbie from us. This is not to say that every one they have has to be their shade of beautiful, but really...I want to at least balance it out! These are the Barbies that I found. I had to get two of the same because literally--that is all I could find. Weird. Does anyone know where I can find an Ethiopian Barbie? Oh... and the make-up! Wow! At least they are wearing clothes that cover up. These are ballerina Barbies.

What I'm afraid of-

I am afaid of a lot of things. It's not easy to admit, but heck...I am willing to be vulnerable at this time in my life.

I am raw--

1. I am afraid of meeting the family of the girls.
2. I am afraid that they are going to be terrified of leaving with a stranger.
3. I am afraid that I won't be able to get their "blackness".
4. I hope that I can learn to do their hair.
5. I am afraid of their fear.
6. I am a little afraid of raising girls.
7. I am afraid that medical issues could come up.

Things I think I know that I am using to try to fight the fear--

1. God is with me.
2. I have a wonderful supportive husband
3. I have great boys who are kind and helpful.
4. I have friends who are waiting on the sidelines to help.
5. I think that I can learn to do hair---
6. I know some sweet girls who are excited for our girls to come.
7. In my head I know that any one of us could have medical issues.
8. I know others who have done this exact thing and they are making

I think I can...I think I can......

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Turn off the radio to your right and enjoy. I took all the photos we have of the girls and put them in this slide show.


I can't tell you how thankful we are for all of your support and encouragement.

I was good at the beginning about getting back to all the emails that you have sent us...I am officially behind. The cool thing is that I have saved every one. The chronicle will be fun to show the girls as they get older. They will be able to see and understand the expectancy of all of you. I won't be able to respond much in the next few weeks, but please know that I cherish each email that you send. If you want specific info, I will, of course, respond to that!

Humbled and overwhelmed-

Thank you to all (Hillis Fams) who have sent me notes, bought us flowers, given us kid hangers...alot of them.

We have been the recipient of wonderful hand-me-downs from the Walle's and the Johnson's. I went through them in awe. There are clothes that will fit them now, until past size 14. We have clothes to start out each size that they grow into.

Susan and Jen took us out to Queen Sheba this weekend and treated us to an authentic Ethiopian meal. We had a wonderful time...the food was awesome.......I don't know how I (camera happy me) forgot to bring my camera. I did find a picture online from a family that went to ET and really...the food looked pretty much exactly like this.

If you notice that lining the plate is a bready thing. That is Injero. It is a traditional yeasty sour type bread that is eaten with the meal. Here is a picture of how it is made. I have been trying to scan in the wonderful letter that the girls sent us, but have been having problems. It was so cute.

Here is a portion of the front.

Here is the back.

There is sort of a theme running here....I wonder if the girls didn't really know what to say and resorted to Jesus! It was so precsious to get this on Christmas Eve. There were a few coloring pages also. I guess coloring is universal!

I will post again soon. Perhaps pictures of my packing adventure.

Counting the cost

I bought the tickets!

I will be leaving Seattle Jan 19th at 11:05P

arrive in Dulles at 6:48A Jan 20th

leave Dulles at 9:30A

arrive in Addis at 8:35A Jan 21st

I will be coming home Jan 25th leaving Addis at 10:15P with two girls


arrive at Dulles at 7:50A Jan 26th

leave Dulles for Seattle at 12:55 P

arrive Seattle at 3:45 p

If you look closely and do the will see that I am going to be wasted...I am a little nervous about the almost 5 hour layover in Dulles. What am I going to do for 5 hours?????

cost for 2 visas~700.00

cost for week stay in Addis inclusive ~1500.00

cost for airfaire to Addis and back for me-1878.30

cost for airfare for Genet and Bizayehu to come home-2223.40

two little girls leaving Africa and coming to America where the only thing that these countries have in common is that they both start with an 'A'.--priceless

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

January 23, 2008

Is our Embassy date!

We received notification today that this is the day that I will be getting Bizayehu and Genet's visas to be able to come to America. This means that I will travel around the 2oth of January to around the 25th. We will be a family by the end of January!

It may seem strange that we will be spending all that money to be in Africa for just a few short days, but really.....I think that is what I can handle alone. I told Susan Parr travel agency that I did not want a lot of time with the girls by myself. They agree, and that it sounds like families like to get out soon after getting thier children. She mentioned that some even call to change their flights from longer trips to shorter ones. I am a little nervous, but there will probably be other families there, so I think I will be ok. I want enough time to do a little shopping, spend some time at Layla House, and some in Addis mulling around and hopefully some time to visit the girls' family if we can. I think, even though it will be very hard for me, it would be good for the girls. I would also like to take each of the girl's school group on a field trip. Maybe to the Hilton for swimming...

I love these pictures!

I can't believe that I will be the one taking pictures and delivering letters for other families soon!
As a waiting parent, getting those photos is what keeps you going. I can't wait to return the favor!

The other night I was in bed reading the packet of info for travel and I started to FREAK OUT!!
So, the next day, I went shopping. I am going on the idea that they are sizes 6 and 8. I bought most of what I need for them for travelling. I have to get everything! They do not come home with anything from Layla House. I have a few sets of clothes now. they are cute, but I needed to get easy travelling clothes...not gorgeous uncomfortable ones..THAT--I will save for when we get home. Thank you to all who are collecting their hand-me-downs to pass on. It will be so nice to not have to buy everything. It is a little mind numbing to plan all this...but I am a list maker, so I will make some lists!

We should be getting the travel costs and dates either this eve, or in the morning. I will post again with those figures. I am sure you will be interested as I am!

Freaking out in Tacoma...but oh so excited...DEB